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Alright, I love lightweight shoes. Ideally, I would wear no shoes at all, but that’s no good at all for hooping. So lightweight basketball shoes are my jam.
If you’re looking for your next pair of hoops kicks, I’ll start with some recommendations. But I also tossed in a few models just to marvel at for their attractiveness or ridiculousness.
I admit, I haven’t played in every pair here. A couple of these models are absolutely ridiculous and and I wouldn’t keep them if they were given to me. Some, like a perfect pair of Kobe 8’s, I just wouldn’t be willing to put on the floor. But that’s exactly what makes them worth mentioning and gawking at.
I have tried them all on and hopped around in them. But mostly, these are technically, the most lightweight basketball shoes in production in 2023.
A couple of notes before we get into it…
- You’ll notice quickly here that Nike makes the lightest basketball shoes. I’m not biased towards Nike, they’re just basically the only entrants in the 310g category.
- Obviously weight can vary with size, so all weights are given for a size 9 shoe.
Alright, let’s Jump in…
The Lightest Basketball Shoe Ever?
Why not start with the absolute lightest production basketball shoe of all time. this would appear to be the Kobe 8. This is a Nike shoe. It is a mamba player edition. And It is just an all-around beautiful shoe.
The Nike Kobe 8 System
The Kobe 8 had its initial production run way back in 2012, so it’s not easy to come by. Thankfully we’re likely to see a re-release of the Kobe 8 towards the back half of 2023. This should help calm things down. But a clean pair can push over 1,000$ on the secondary market these days.
The Kobe 8 is an iconic shoe for obvious reasons. And Nike went all out. There are several variations on the Kobe 8, but the lightest, the Kobe 8 System, weighs in at around 270-280g. Pretty impressive when 310g really seems to be the accepted floor for production basketball shoes.
The Most Lightweight Basketball Shoes on the market in 2023
These are the lightweight basketball shoes that are most widely available in 2023. You can snag a pair of any of these models online today and in a lot of cases have it on your doorstep as soon as tomorrow. But these shoes should also be found in ample supply at your local spot.
I’ll reserve a little spot at the end here to discuss some of the fancier stuff if you’re willing to up your budget and
Nike KD Trey 5 VIII (310g)
These are my overall pick in the lightweight category. I play in these regularly and enjoy them. And the reviews are pretty solid, so I know it’s not just me. If you want a deeper dive on the trey 5, I’ve got a whole post dedicated to just that. These can be tough to find though, because the model has been updated and the new models aren’t as great on outdoor courts.
Looks are subjective, but I also think these are cool as hell. I don’t love all of the colorways, but there’s nothing too crazy about the style, just sleek and elegant.
On top of being super light, the stock insoles on these tend to get some appreciation. So you may not even feel the need to swap them out.
Nike Precision 5 (310g)
This is probably the best option for a budget lightweight shoe. You can score a pair in the 75$ and under range pretty easily. For the price, and considering the feathery weight, this is an impressive model.
The big complaint seems to be a lack of cushion. This is less of an issue when you consider that you should really be swapping your insoles anyway. The best stock insoles are usually worse than a decent specialty insole and taking care of your feet is one of the best ways to avoid injury, so don’t cut corners here.
A decent insole will add around 50g to your shoe. That seems lame but a well balanced and fit shoe can feel lighter than a much heavier shoe, so you’re not really gonna notice that extra 50g.
Nike Giannis Immortality (310g)
These are kinda funky, but I like em. Mostly, I appreciate the immortality as an often deeply discounted outdoor shoe. There are actually 2 models now with the release of the immortality 2 in 2023. Reviews are not great, but you’re not really looking for otherwordly performance in the sub-100$ range.
I’ve only played in the original immortality, but reviews suggest that the immortality 2 got only a very subtle update. If you elect to shell out the 50% premium for the Immortality II, it won’t be for performance as much as the wider colorway availability.
Nike Kyrie Flytrap
I kinda got had by this shoe. It is very light and I personally like the style a whole lot. I wanted to love the flytrap.
They gave me crazy blisters on by heels. I’m prone to blisters on my heels. I’m honestly not quite sure what it is, but there’s a certain shoe style that just rips my heels apart. If there’s any type of extra heel padding, I can pretty much guarantee I’m getting destroyed.
With these ones, there’s nothing really detectible. And it may not effect you in the same way. I just get massive heel blisters every time I play in these.
Benefits of a lightweight basketball shoe
If you ask me, it’s the feel. A light shoe that is well balanced almost gives you this feeling that your feet don’t want to stay on the ground.
I used to be a line cook. For years I wore heavy, sturdy cooking shoes. It’s pretty popular in kitchens to wear good, quality clogs because you’re on your feet for long hours. I did all of the classics: Crocs, Sanitas, Birkenstocks.
Then I just got fed up and too good on the line to have anyone tell me I wasn’t allowed to and I started wearing sneakers. And eventually, I snuck into a pair of taekwando shoes. If you know anything about kitchens, you know that taekwando shoes for just about anyone are a bad idea. Not for me.
That light weight helped my knees. But more importantly, I could feel the floor through the soles. I could spin and slide with crazy control. If OSHA had seen me, they woulda flipped, but I worked on those shoes for years.
So yeah, lightweight shoes, you get a little speed and agility. If your feet are sensitive, you might need some more rubber under them. But if you can handle it, you can gain from that connection to the floor.
Another undervalued benefit of lightweight basketball shoes is breathability. Lightweight basketball shoes are often made with lighter more breathable materials, keeping your dogs cool and calm during a game.
Lightweight basketball shoes can be clutch for the right player. It’s not always the weight itself that matters as much as a feeling of lightness. So a well balanced shoe can feel lighter than the numbers.
My choice is definitely the KD Trey VIII. I really love these shoes. Never hit the gym without them. But the Precision 5 is a workable solution for a great price.
As shoe technology advances, lightweight basketball shoes are becoming more popular. And easier to find at a great price. You’re probably not gonna score the Kobe 8 Systems, but